Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Day 6 Check-in; Ukraine, You've Got Some 'Spainin To Do

It sure appears that way after the 4-0 drubbing the Ukraine took this morning. I watched most of this game, and I have to say that while Spain definitely took it to the Ukraine, and the Ukraine did not work their strategy very well, luck was a pretty big element in this game.

2 of the first 3 Spanish goals were extraordinarily good luck goals. The deflection off the wall is the type of goal any team will take, but will rarely take too much pride in. The keeper had the shot sniffed out, it appeared, when the change of direction off the deflection sent his body's momentum going one way, and his will the other. That's never a good position for a keeper to be in, and if you see the replay, you'll see his body falling to his right, and and his left shooting out to his left, just missing the deflected ball.

The other goal, the third goal, the nail in the coffin goal (I think most soccer players will tell you that 2-0, while it feels bad, feels surmountable. 3-0 is the score that usually just kills a team's spirit) was the phantom penalty. Credit Spain for drawing a penalty kick where there was no penalty, and for doing it well enough that a Ukranian player got ejected.

Ukraine played poorly, no doubt. They've got to find a way to get Shevchenko the ball if they want to compete. Spain played well, no doubt. But the sun was shining on Spain today. They shouldn't count on that kind of luck the rest of the way through.

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